We kind of decided to lay low over here at BN yesterday. I don’t need to tell you this, but there were several other things going on in the world that deserved people’s attention. We didn’t want to get in the way of people experiencing that news, and it simply would have felt inappropriate to write posts praising Coby White’s hair like nothing else was happening.
And while there will be a hangover of sorts today and plenty of more craziness to keep track of, we’re going to try to get back on the saddle. At the end of the day, BN might be a good distraction for you (I know it is for me), and we want to make sure we continue to provide that distraction.
So … let’s talk about that round orange bouncy thing.
• I could be a lot more feisty about last night’s Bulls loss, but current events mixed with a still impressive victory on Tuesday night have kept me tamed. Also, it’s not like the team didn’t play well. The group still looked far better than they had in the first two games of the season, and they, once again, competed for a full 48 minutes. The Bulls shot a solid 52.7 percent from the field and got several high-quality performances from their most important players.
• Indeed, last night, Coby White had a sexy and career-high 36 points. LaVine did LaVine things with 32 points of his own. Wendell Carter Jr. hauled in a career-high 17 rebounds. All good things. At the same time, I can’t deny that each of those performances would feel that much more meaningful in a winning effort. De’Aaron Fox, the Kings best player, even left the game with a hamstring issue after just 5 minutes. It’s frustrating not to take advantage of that opportunity.
• Rookie Tyrese Haliburton used Fox’s absence to remind the Bulls of what they passed up on draft night. I doubt he actually made the front office feel an ounce of remorse (PAT DUB ROY CAMPAIGN BABY), but he gave it a solid effort with a 15-point 4th quarter that ended with a dagger-hitting 3-pointer at the 12-second mark. Haliburton also added insult to injury by converting that 3 with a nice little fake-out and side-step on LaVine, who had a pretty rough final few minutes. After what he did against the Blazers, I probably shouldn’t complain, but last night did remind us that he still has some steps to take in the decision-making department. LaVine tried to play hero with an early shot-clock 26-footer to give the Bulls the lead with one minute to go. While he did tally 9 points in the fourth, he also finished 1-5 from behind the arc in that quarter alone (3-11 in the game). Bummer.
• I feel like we’ve all had that moment where we’ve said something like, “Mario Kart is totally my game, and I basically never lose.” Then, you sit down to play, and your friend has surprisingly elite aim with his green Koopa Shells and he drifts way better than you. I feel like that’s kind of what happened to the Bulls last night. After a big win against the Blazers, they probably felt pretty confident about their new system and progress. I don’t think overconfidence is what cost them the game, but I do think what they realized is that another team can still play their game better than them. In other words, the Bulls are an equal opportunity team that relies on ball movement and constant motion. The Kings followed a pretty similar script, and they outplayed Chicago in several areas that could be considered “strengths” this season. Sacramento got to the free-throw line 27 times compared to Chicago’s 15. They also edged out the Bulls in the assist department 30 to 15, and they stuck right with them when it came to the points in the paint battle (62-62). When the final buzzer sounded, the Kings had seven players in double-figures and simply beat the Bulls at their own game.
• Even with a late-night loss, it’s so refreshing that Bulls fans can now say things like this:
It’s 11pm and I’m having fun watching the #Bulls again. How I’ve missed this.
— Silvy (@WaddleandSilvy) January 7, 2021
• And a big reason for all that fun is this guy …
Reminder: @CobyWhite is 20 years old.
36 pts (career-high) | 7 asts | 0 turnovers pic.twitter.com/9HoJZSM3NQ
— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) January 7, 2021
• NBC Sports Chicago’s K.C. Johnson put out a fresh mailbag, and I want to give him a shoutout for including one of my questions in the bunch. I asked what he thought about the future of Otto Porter, which is, fortunately, becoming an even more interesting storyline at the start of this season. The 27-year-old is currently averaged 14.0 points 6.9 rebounds, and 2.0 assists. He is also shooting 43.6 percent from the field and 41.7 percent from downtown – demonstrating the 3-and-D title still very much suits him. I can’t help but wonder that if Porter continues to play at this efficient of a level, or even better, if the Bulls would at all consider re-signing him. Here is what Johnson had to say:
As for re-signing, it’s not like the Bulls’ need for a two-way wing with defensive versatility is going away. His health issues would be a concern, and it’s unclear what annual salary he’ll be seeking after striking it rich with that Brooklyn Nets offer sheet that the Wizards matched. He’s not seeing that annual salary again. But a lot of teams are flush with cap space next summer.
I do know this from my limited dealings with Karnišovas to this point: He’s very detailed and seems to be a pragmatic decision-maker. It’s a safe guess that he knows in his mind what he wants to do with Porter moving forward and, if he’s not traded, what number he’d be willing to re-sign him at if he’s even entertaining that idea.
• Agree on all fronts. I think Karnisovas has a plan for each of these veterans, and I can’t help but think that plan includes a deadline trade for guys like Porter and Young. If that doesn’t happen, though, a possible re-signing would be something to keep an eye on. I wouldn’t mind keeping him around at the right price, but I think another team would likely pay him more to be a clear-cut starter.
• Do it, Bears.
Oh My: There is “Buzz” That Deshaun Watson Could Ask for a Tradehttps://t.co/NsIZXfcbMo
— Bleacher Nation Bears (@BN_Bears) January 7, 2021